My handy local camera shop cut it's own throat... used to have a monthly account and I used to stack stuff up on the counter and pay on time every month, but they got rid of that because of a couple bad apples and said they had to be fair to "everyone".
Then they started classes on how to do your own "senior photos". ... might have been inevitable, but it pissed off us loyal pros that willingly paid a little extra rather than go mail order from NYC or Chicago.
Now I am thinking of becoming that "little camera hub" as the old one is almost dead and boring.
One thing that bugs the hell out of me is when I go to a retail store, looking for some item and the sales person says, "No, we don't have that but I can order it..."
My stock answer is, "Well, if I wanted to order something I would have saved myself a trip to the store, stayed home and ordered it from the internet!"
Seriously! I get in my car, brave the shopping mall traffic, spend the gas money and generally inconvenience myself in order that I can physically go into a store, speak to a human and see and touch the product I want to buy BEFORE I buy it! I will pay the extra premium in price an forgo the "online discounts" in favor of being able to inspect the merchandise and ask questions in advance of the sale. Besides, shipping charges usually make up for most if not all of those discounts anyway.
I am angered and disappointed when I go to a store and get that kind of canned response. It is retail stores that do this that are killing the retail market! Yes, WalMart and many of the other stores are taking a big bite out of local businesses but there are a lot of things that WalMart can't provide. You'd be hard pressed to find an employee at WalMart who knows anything about the products let alone who has two brain cells to rub together. Those who do know are so pressed for time that they can do little more than point toward the products on the shelves and say, "It's in aisle nine..."
What these "big box" retailers don't realize (or WANT to realize) is that 90% of the shopping experience is social.
It's about going to the store, talking to people and exchanging information. It's similar to the way guys used to hang out at the barber shop and shoot the bull. Maybe only half the guys in the shop wanted hair cuts. The rest were there to talk about last night's game on TV or what the politicians said in the newspaper. That is what made that barber's business! Most people didn't need to get a haircut every week but they did it anyway because they got to socialize with the shop owner and the other people who hung out there. This is one very important reason why stores like WalMart can be detrimental to a town. They eliminate the social structure.
The more I consider, the more I think there's wisdom in being Amish.
Okay, seriously, joking aside... The main reason the Amish don't use telephones is because they value the social relationships between family, friends and neighbors more than the convenience of talking, long distance, on the phone. It's not because they think that technology is somehow "evil." Instead, they believe that, if you want to talk to your neighbor, you should walk to his house, knock on the door and speak to him face-to-face and in person.
This shop in Australia that charges a fee to shop there has probably done so because they have lost touch with the social aspects of doing business with the public and are forced to resort to such tactics. The problem is that, in doing so, they drive themselves away from their customers and make the problem they face even WORSE, not better.
The most important things in life are your family, your friends and the people around you in your neighborhood.
If you take care of the people in your life, your business should follow. If your business is failing its because you're not taking care of the people in your life.
When I find a store of any type with great salespeople, I support it and them, and the opposite, too.
That social experience is what I'm getting at, Worker 11811. From the perspectives of expertise and breadth of personalities, sites like APUG crush the direct human "shoot the bull at the local film store" experience. Not saying it's good, just saying it's happened.
"There is a time and place for all things, the difficulty is to use them only in their proper time and places." -- Robert Henri
I just got a phone call from my local camera store. The guy called to tell me that he just got a new camera on consignment.
The last couple of times I was there, I was looking at the cameras in the consignment case and the guy remembered.
He called me up to tell me that he just got a complete 4x5 monorail camera with lens, film holders, case and even a pack of Polaroid film and a pack of Kodak sheet film. The whole outfit, including a case is offered for $400 and, because I go in there at least once or twice per month to buy something (even if it's just a 120 roll of Tri-X) he's will consider waiving the consignment fee. (Meaning, if I play my cards right, I can get it for even less.)
Do you think WalMart, B&H or Adorama could do that?
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Retail is tough...
... I gave my local shop a mini-lecture that a store should be a store.
They no longer cary "clear" stop bath. But said they would order it.
I they said it would take 2 weeks. I told em Freestyle will have it to me is 2-3 days.
I don't expect them to have a Nikon 45mm PCE on the shelf, I do expect them to cary D-76, stop bath, and a variety of fixers.
The reason they don't have it in stock and "can order it for you" Randy is that as the economy gets tougher and tougher stores can't afford to keep large amounts stock on the shelves that isn't selling because they have to pay for their inventory on their shelves which is dead money and could be worth hundreds of thousands of £ or $ accruing no interest until it is sold, so they use the importers or wholesalers as a warehouse for the less popular items to save money and get them for customers on request, so they aren't carrying things in stock that aren't selling on a regular basis.
Originally Posted by Worker 11811
I'm with worker 11811. If a retailer isn't holding stock of what I want to buy or compare; if they can't talk about how it works and its good/bad points in a knowledgable and cogent fashion; and can't treat me nicely instead of viewing me as some inconvenience that's wasting their time, then for me it doesn't matter one jot whether they exist or not. It is for the retailer to use their ingenuity and business acumen to arrive at ways they can attract customers in a world where they are doomed to be more expensive. It isn't for the customer to forgive them their failures. If the retailer thinks he can do that whilst offering worse service, less information, less stock, and worse prices, then best of luck with that.
Meanwhile it was a telephone /internet photographic seller who maybe ten years ago realised in the course of a call with me that they'd messed up my film order and had missed the post. I was due to travel on an assignment the following day. They got in a car and drove nearly 100 miles round trip to get me the film on time. I just can't imagine any retail outlet of my knowledge doing that. I'd like to think that this outlet got enough business from me after this event to have made their gesture worthwhile.
I can understand "traditional" photo-shops feeling upset when potential customers use their expertise and then buy elsewhere at a lower price. (I wouldn't feel comfortable doing that myself, but many people see nothing wrong in it.)
But mail order and cut-price "box shifters" businesses have been set up by entrepreneurs who have seen an opportunity and demand, and, if the traditional shops failed to see this and take the opportunity themselves, they can hardly blame their customers. I'm not taking sides on whether this is, morally, right-or-wrong, but it's a fact of capitalism. We've seen what is happening to Kodak, who (arguably) seem to have missed opportunities and changing circumstances, while Amazon, etc., flourish (yet still seem to offer very good, if rather impersonal, service).
I've had some decidedly unpleasant JB Hifi experiences here, so I'm not suprised they'd be charging a look-see fee. What took the cake was the incident of the iPhone car kit - I was buying computer gear, trackpad and some other stuff, about $300 or so and they had the car kit I wanted... at an outrageous price compared to what Apple was selling it for.
So I asked if they would price match with Apple.
"Nah" was the surly response, so I smiled sweetly, said to the sales drone "here, hold these" and handed him the other items I was going to buy.
Then I walked out the store. Never spent a cent there since.
On the other hand I do my best to support the serious camera stores we have here. Especially the one with the on-site lab and the young sales guy who's response to me dropping off some Velvia was a friendly "what you shooting with?" followed by "sweet man, same here" when I told him it was an F4.
There is nothing, absolutely nothing, half so much worth doing, as simply messing about in boats